What are CAD files used for

Hi I am new to this and I would like to know what CAD files are used for, like can I download these to a CNC machine or 3D printer and will it either cut the or print what is on the file or is it just to look at.

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Just like a word file is used to store a word document, a CAD file stores the model data. There are some steps you will need to follow for using the file on a 3D Printer:
> Open and save the CAD file as a .stl file
> Open the file on slic3r and generate the g-code
> Run the g-code on prontoface to start your print

 
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which file do I save as a .STL because when I download the file and open it I see a bunch of different files so I don't know which one to save as a .atl maybe I should just pay someone to do this for me.lol

 
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the library page (the page linked to from the new / popular list) will tell you whether it was modelled in autocad / inventor / solid edge / solidworks / pro-engineer etc. you need these softwares to open the dedicated file format. the software may also be able to import other cad systems' file formats.

sometimes the files are already saved as .stl files, saving you time to get it to the 3d printer.

 
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Do these files only work with 3D printers or could one take that file and load it into a CNC machine and have it run the program to cut whats on the file out of metal

 
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CNC machines are a different story, you will need to know how to write g-code, material properties, tool dimensions etc.

 
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The reason I'm asking is because I have found some files that say their CNC ready.

 
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Upload the file and I will check it out.

 
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here is the file I found on here that says it is CNC ready.

 
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Download e-drawings software (its free). if its a 2D Draft and you have a plasma/laser/water-jet cutter, then g-code generators are available.

 
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